Tag Archives: iceland2011

Foss Fever

Iceland, country of many waterfalls. From the small, to the ridiculously enormous. Foss a Sidu   Seljalandsfoss   Aldeyjarfoss   Goðafoss   Gullfoss   Dettifoss – the most powerful waterfall in Europe   And yes, I’m desperately trying to get up to date with postings – now I’m only three weeks or so behind.

A Blue Lagoon goodbye

The timing was good, so what better way to go to the airport than via the Blue Lagoon? One of Iceland’s biggest tourist … attractions? Traps? I’m not sure. For a geothermal spa (with water coming from a nearby geothermal power plant) it’s not cheap, but it was definitely a nice way to wind down before getting on an aeroplane to fly home. The pale blue water is full of silica and sulphur (I’m sure my hair still smelt sulphurous on the flight home), and is deliciously warm. Along with access you get a little plastic bracelet. It allows you … Continue reading A Blue Lagoon goodbye

Jökulsárlón (Big fat glacier lagoon)

Jökulsárlón is the biggest glacier lagoon in Iceland, filled with giant chunks of glacier which have calved from Breiðamerkurjökull (jökull means glacier). It’s also filled with seals (well, a few at any rate) and boat buses full of tourists who don’t get to go life-threateningly close to the glacier, which is no fun at all. After spending some time melting, the small glacial icebergs float out to sea and escape. After having our fill of watching enormous glacier chunks and seals, we drove down the road to check out two of the smaller glacier lagoons nearby. Breiðárlón was so unimpressive … Continue reading Jökulsárlón (Big fat glacier lagoon)

Out in the Eastfjords and to the glaciers

Ubiquitous Icelandic sheep is ubiquitous   Seyðisfjörður church – one of the many cute painted churches you see around Iceland   Driving along the east coast on a blustery day   The Moosling, terribly excited about all the rocks he has to eat   Driving up alongside a rampaging glacier – in places the road was so steep you could barely see past the bonnet   Glacier and sea – it was a fantastic view, and hard to capture in a single photograph   Glacier close-up

Into Askja

Askja is a stratovolcano in the Icelandic highlands. We headed straight there along the F910 in the morning, and managed to cross both of the fords on the road (although there was a lot of eye closing, and we wouldn’t have wanted to stop in one of them). Wending our way through endless circles, we drove on through the Ódáðahraun (Evil Deeds Lava). Driving through old lava flows is not a straight road kind of process. The clouds were lurking low, and we couldn’t see the Queen of Mountains, nor Askja itself. Driving on up past the huts, we entered … Continue reading Into Askja

Lava, geothermal areas and an arctic fox

Pottering around in the north of the country… Horses! The Icelandic horses were everyhere, often running along in the distinctive fifth gait Around the corner from Husavik, where we decided not to go whale watching because it was expensive and they weren’t even using the best boats at the moment – and it was mainly about the sailing, not the whales Geothermally active areas around Krafla. Don’t believe the Lonely Planet when it says the Stora-Viti crater “reveals a stunning secret when you reach its rim”. There’s just a bit of water in there, and it’s not even a very … Continue reading Lava, geothermal areas and an arctic fox

F26 – the Sprengisandur Route

The main road around Iceland is the Ring Road, making a big, convenient circuit of the country. The F26 is an unsealed 4WD only road that cuts straight up the middle, through desolate lava desert that reputedly used to house ghosts and outlaws. These days it’s still a little on the desolate side, with weather that can change rapidly for the worse. We managed to get fantastic weather for our drive through though, and the landscape, although desolate, seemed beautiful. Really, it was just like where I grew up, just with less grass and trees, and more lakes and glaciers. … Continue reading F26 – the Sprengisandur Route

Getting away from town

Our 4WD picked up (thankfully we were upgraded from the tiny toy Suzuki Jimny to the slightly less tiny Suzuki Grand Vitara) we set off into the great unknown. Not that unknown though, as initially we drove around the famed ‘Golden Triangle’, consisting of Þingvellir, Geysir and Gullfoss. Conclusion: They’re not that golden, unless that’s as far from Reykjavik as you’re able to get. Þingvellir is mainly of interest as a historical site, being the place where Iceland’s first parliament was founded back in 930, and continued for centuries. It’s also smack bang on the divide between the North American … Continue reading Getting away from town

Day Four of the Laugavegur hike (Botnar – Þórsmörk)

An early start today, as we had a bus to catch. Well, not that early. We left the hut by 8.45am at any rate. It was raining as we left, and so to get to the Bridge of Peril we had to walk ourselves down muddy slopes using fixed ropes and chains (it’s actually wasn’t terribly perilous at all). There was more canyon to see, and more up and down through green landscape. The rain cleared again, and we started getting warm as we hiked up little hills. There’s something about hiking with a deadline that makes everything a little … Continue reading Day Four of the Laugavegur hike (Botnar – Þórsmörk)

Day Three of the Laugavegur hike (Álftavatn – Botnar)

When the Moosling woke up and started rampaging around at 7am, we decided we may as well bow to the inevitable and get up. On this hike, at least in the huts, sleeping in seemed to be the order of the day, with plenty of people not even bothering to roll over in their sleeping bags until it was at least 9am. With such short hiking days, there’s no real rush about anything though. We were out on the trail shortly after 9am (I know, I’ve got no idea how we got ready to hike so quickly either, we’re like … Continue reading Day Three of the Laugavegur hike (Álftavatn – Botnar)

Day Two of the Laugavegur hike (Hrafntinnusker – Álftavatn)

The morning brought a little mizzle, so we pessimistically donned all our rain gear. The rain gods thanked us for our humility, and declared an end to the rain for the duration of our hiking that day. The ground steamed at us, the mountains were dark, the mountains were colourful, the snow patches had ashy residue, and ridiculously bright green moss highlighted quirks of the landscape. We spent the first half of the hike climbing down into and then out of the creases in the landscape. Lots of little gullies were still filled with snow, and some obvious snow bridges … Continue reading Day Two of the Laugavegur hike (Hrafntinnusker – Álftavatn)

Day One of the Laugavegur hike (Landmannalaugar – Hrafntinnusker)

The Laugavegur is a 55km hike in south-west Iceland, usually completed over four days. It’s one of those classic hikes – the sort that are so classic that you should book months in advance if you want to be sure of a spot in the huts. Of course, if you don’t mind camping in the rain, then you’re probably ok. But given the weather in the area, chances are you would be spending at least one night sitting outside cooking in the rain, then huddling in the damp of your tent. We booked space in the huts. After a four … Continue reading Day One of the Laugavegur hike (Landmannalaugar – Hrafntinnusker)

Back from Iceland!

We spent the first couple of days in Reykjavik, failing to find Carmen Sandiego, and gradually adjusting to the six hour time difference. And to the fact that we’d found somewhere colder and windier than Canmore to spend our Summer holidays. Walking round the streets of Reykjavik can be downright freezing with that wind coming straight off the ocean. The Solfar (Sun Voyager) statue   Views of the city from Perlan – we were staying right by the big white church